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UNAMA to investigate civilian deaths in US airstrike

AT-KABUL: The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it would start an investigation into a recent incident in which 32 civilians were killed in a US airstrike in northern Kunduz province.

At least 32 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed and 19 others injured Thursday in the US airstrike in Buz Kandahari near Kunduz city, the provincial capital with the same name on Thursday.

The UNAMA said in a statement that in the last week alone, around 100 civilians have been killed and 111 more injured in the country.

“The loss of civilian lives is unacceptable and undermines efforts toward building peace and stability in Afghanistan,” said head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto.

“When conducting aerial operations, international military forces should take all feasible measures to minimize civilian harm including full analysis of the context for aerial strikes,” he added.

On Saturday, Washington accepted that the civilians had most probably been killed in a US strike called by a Special Forces team engaged in a raid on suspected Taliban militants, the statement said.

The UN mission expresses “sincere condolences” to the families of victims and a speedy recovery to those injured, it concluded.

Three Taliban leaders were supposed to be targeted in the raid, but our forces met “significant enemy fire from multiple locations” and called for help from a US aircraft, said General John Nicholson, commander of the US-led international troops in Afghanistan.

The Taliban militants were removed from power following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, but they have stepped up their activities in recent months, attempting to overrun several provinces.

Afghan forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with Taliban to contain the ongoing insurgency across various parts of the country.

The rising violence in Afghanistan comes despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops in the country.

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